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Relax in the waters of these picturesque top European spa destinations, just as the aristocracy did centuries ago. Enjoy exquisite cuisine, magnificent buildings, and acres of unspoiled environment, as well as complete bathing pleasure and pampering.

1. Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
Karlovy Vary, in the Tepla River valley, was once a popular royal retreat; Charles IV identified the thermal springs and established the town as a spa in the 14th century. Today, it is still a magnificent spa resort fit for a king or queen. Exploring the area’s parks and taking in the historicist and Art Nouveau architecture are musts. Hot and cold mineral springs numbering in the dozens dot the town, where visitors may relax with hydro-puncture massages, soak in bubble baths, pedal foot pools, and drink from the various spigots.

2. Montecatini Terme

Montecatini Terme
Montecatini Terme is the place to live it up like the virtuous Medicis. This stylish spa resort has been welcoming royalty, composers, and authors since 1773 when it was controlled by the royal family. Montecatini Terme’s beautiful gardens with rare flora, exquisite colonnades, rooms adorned in frescoes, and galleries with travertine columns carry on the town’s illustrious past, which you may have missed during its heyday in the early 20th century. Il Tettuccio, built in the 15th century, has a beautiful loggia that overlooks the pool and a façade adorned with sculptures made of Carrara marble. Ensure you experience the thermal mud baths, balneotherapy, and hydroponic treatments in all their glory.

3. Vichy, Provence, France

Vichy, Provence, France
Visit Vichy, the “queen of spa towns” in the Auvergne area, and take in some Belle Epoque atmosphere. Visits to its thermal springs date back to the late 16th century. Still, Napoleon III’s late 19th-century construction of gardens, roads, and the magnificent Opera-Casino brought it fame. Among the many architectural styles found in this town are Art Nouveau, Neo-Moorish, and Art Deco. While you’re there, sign up for a thermal therapy that can help you lose weight and look younger. JS Suggestion: The five-star Vichy Céléstins Spa Hotel is the place to go for a four-hand massage and the famous Vichy shower.

4. Vidago, Lisbon, Portugal

Vidago, Lisbon, Portugal
Portuguese nobility would take therapeutic “water walks” in the lofty pine and cedar woods of Vidago in the early 20th century, replenishing their bodies with water from the four mineral springs that were located there. This verdant resort town in the rocky area of Tràs-os-Montes, close to Portugal’s northern border, still bottles the carbonated spring water extracted from pure granite’s deep bedrock. Swim in the chic 21,000-square-foot Spa, a modern masterpiece by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Álvaro Siza, at the salmon-pink Vidago Palace, a stunning grande dame hotel constructed in 1910. Hydromassage tubs and jet showers are only two therapies the on-site balneologist might recommend.

5. Baden-Baden, Germany

Baden-Baden, Germany
Baden-Baden is a spa mecca encircled by the picturesque Black Forest hills in southern Germany. Famous people, including Queen Victoria and Barack Obama, have visited the area for its healing thermal springs, five-star hotels, and lush parks. The village has two thermal baths, so you may choose the one that suits you best. Experience the revitalizing 17-step routine at Friedrichsbad, where Roman and Irish bathing traditions have been enjoyed for 140 years while marveling at the beautiful frescoes and central dome. The baths at Friedrichsbad range in temperature from mild to hot. Alternatively, you may visit Caracalla Spa, which has 12 hot springs, a glass dome, and marble columns that evoke the 1980s.

6. Spa, Belgium

Spa, Belgium
Spa, a town in Belgium, has many hot water attractions, including water bell fountains, geysers, bubble beds, and water cannons. The water treatment that Tsar Peter the Great had in 1717 brought Spa into the spotlight, and the European nobility soon followed suit. Famous for its glass-domed pools, covered walkways, elegant hotels, one of the first casinos in the world, and network of walking routes, it quickly became a trendy meeting place. Peat baths, thermal showers, and sub-aquatic massages are just a few options available after a consultation with a balneo-therapist at Les Thermes de Spa.

7. Bath, England

Bath, England

The Celts and Romans were the first to use Bath’s naturally warm waters two millennia ago. Enjoy breathtaking views of this picturesque town, famous for its Georgian architecture from the 18th century, while lounging in an outdoor rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa today. The Great Bath, a hot water pool coated with 45 sheets of lead that formerly stood in a large barrel-vaulted hall, and Bath Abbey, with its honey-colored stone and stained-glass windows, are worth a visit if you want a sense of what it was like to bathe in Roman times.

8. Hiszfeld, Hungary

Hiszfeld, Hungary
Hévíz, a resort town two hours southwest of Budapest, is home to the world’s biggest naturally occurring thermal lake actively supporting life. It is thought that medicinal mud packs, yumelho massages, and water lily body washes may heal various diseases, and Lake Hévíz provides these services. You may relax differently in the adjacent Egregy Hill vineyard region, where you can taste local wines when you’ve soaked enough.

9. Gorski Kotar, Croatia

Gorski Kotar, Croatia
Sveti Martin Na Muri has a long history of spa tourism dating back to 1911, which is surprising given the town’s pastoral setting in Croatia’s far north. A luxury resort known as LifeClass Terme Sveti Martin now has a modern pool complex named Temple of Life, which was influenced by the anthroposophical ideas of Rudolf Steiner, the man of Waldorf education, who was born in a neighboring hamlet. The first pool was constructed here in 1936. Sveti Martin na Muri’s hot water is said to have healing properties due to its origins in the Pannonian Sea, a submerged ocean that was there over ten million years ago.

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